Former First Lady Laura Bush honors father- & mother-in-law during Houston visit

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Former first lady Laura Bush spoke in Houston on Wednesday. She honored the memory of both former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush during her speech at the Center for Health and Nature Symposium at Houston Methodist Research Institute.

The symposium focused on how nature can positively impact a person’s health.

Former first lady Laura Bush took the opportunity to pay tribute her father-in-law and mother-in-law, both of whom passed away in 2018.

"We miss ‘em, of course, and I’m sure there are lots of people in Houston who miss them as well," said Laura Bush, expressing how much she appreciated the ceremony in College Station for the 41st President in December 2018. “It was really a beautiful ceremony. We walked with President Bush’s casket through 700 saluting Texas A&M cadets. It was really sweet.”

Laura Bush spoke with researchers, medical professionals, and potential donors about the impacts of nature on a patient’s healing and the role nature played in her own mother-in-law’s life.

"My mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, walked her dogs on the beach every day, twice a day," said Laura Bush. "There were two times, early in the morning and late in the afternoon, when dogs are allowed on the Kennebunkport beach, so she did it both times a day. And then a couple of summers ago, she had to walk with a walker, and then her last summer, she couldn’t walk on the beach, so she wildly drove her golf cart around Walker’s Point with her little dogs running behind her for exercise.”

Laura Bush spoke on behalf of Texan by Nature, the organization she founded in 2011.

Symposium topics included nature as a preventative and restorative medicine and nature for chronic disease management.

"How much should we recommend to patients to be outdoors to get them to the place of living a more healthy life?,” asked Joni Carswell, president and chief executive officer of Texan by Nature.

Topics also included bringing nature’s alternative healing possibilities into the hospital setting with virtual gardens and nature sounds, something Houston Methodist is looking at implementing.

"Looking at how virtual reality can be used to really transport that patient to the outdoors to experience stress relief and heart rate reduction," added Carswell.

The symposium was a part of Laura Bush’s passion project, encouraging people to get outside, conserve nature’s resources, and care for wildlife while also cultivating a strong economy.

In her speech on Wednesday, Laura Bush had another message, something her mother-in-law passed on to her before her passing.

"Bar once said, ‘For Heaven’s sake, enjoy life. Don’t cry over things that were or things that aren’t. Enjoy what you have now to the fullest,'" said Laura Bush. "From George’s parents, we’ve learned that all we know we have is now. So take advantage of your life as it is and walk on the beach every chance you get.”

Laura Bush served as the honorary chair of the National Parks Foundation. She has visited more than thirty national parks in her quest to encourage everyone to get out and embrace the healing powers of nature.